Chronic sinusitis and clogged left ear

Posted by rocknrobbn @rocknrobbn, Dec 12, 2022

Good morning,
I am a 68 yo woman. I have suffered with chronic ENT infections since childhood. My BMI is 22.

My adenoids were removed when I was five due to chronic ear infections. After that I started having chronic tonsillitis and strep. At age 20 my tonsils were removed. The last 20 years I have chronic sinus infections.
My left ear never reopens. Regardless of all the recommended treatments. My frontal sinuses continue with pressure and the bone and neck behind my left ear gets sore with a swollen gland behind the ear.
I am currently on a ten day course of Augmentin 875 mg for 10 days. I am on day 8 and I still have pressure. When I move my eyes up or down the sinus pressure increased. The swollen gland behind my ear did go down. The only time my ear opened was in August when I took steroids for a more severe sinus infection with vertigo, dizziness, severe pain and flu like symptoms. Then it closed back up again.
My PCP put in a referral to see an ENT.
What questions shoud I ask?
Thank you in advance for any help you can offer.

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@rocknrobbn Oh my, your story could be mine! An ENT is just the doc to see – they need to see what is going on in your sinuses.
Beyond that,
Ask for the mucus from your sinuses to be cultured, to be sure the medication is being used, and for a long enough time (some bacteria are very hard to kill off.)
Ask about medication to thin the mucus in your sinuses and help it drain. That can get rid of the place for bacteria to grow.
Ask about eustachian tube dysfunction – it can cause all of the symptoms you describe (I had tubes in my ears in my 30's and 40's to relieve the pressure.) Now I find heat and gentle massage can help the pain & pressure.

Have you seen an ENT for these conditions before?
Sue

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@rocknrobbn

Curious if you have ever been tested with a Neuro for migraine type symptoms.

Often people chase the pain to their sinuses or self diagnose, when that may not be the issue. Suffering years of antibiotic therapy. And the reason why antibiotics work for a short time, is because they have a small anti inflammatory property to them.

Also- if you have had chronic sinusitis for years and no provider ever explained to you what it is with out having you in continuous nasal steroid therapy first, then antibiotics and oral steroids will only wax and wane.

Chronic sinusitis is an inflammatory process that needs daily ongoing treatment.

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@nrd1

@rocknrobbn

Curious if you have ever been tested with a Neuro for migraine type symptoms.

Often people chase the pain to their sinuses or self diagnose, when that may not be the issue. Suffering years of antibiotic therapy. And the reason why antibiotics work for a short time, is because they have a small anti inflammatory property to them.

Also- if you have had chronic sinusitis for years and no provider ever explained to you what it is with out having you in continuous nasal steroid therapy first, then antibiotics and oral steroids will only wax and wane.

Chronic sinusitis is an inflammatory process that needs daily ongoing treatment.

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Thank you so much! I appreciate your input.

Neuro said not migraines.

And I have to wait until March 2023 for my ENT consult.

Be well

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@rocknrobbn

Thank you so much! I appreciate your input.

Neuro said not migraines.

And I have to wait until March 2023 for my ENT consult.

Be well

Jump to this post

@rocknrobbn

You’re welcome. Something you could try to do in the meantime while you have the 3 month wait;

Ask your PCP if he/she would communicate with the ENT and see what type of maximum medical therapy he would prescribe for you given your history and if were to have seen you in person as a new patient.

Most have a standard direction of treatment that they want patients to try for minimum of 6 weeks for before next step.

Wouldn’t want you to wait a full 3 months to get that appointment, and then be given a regimen of “try this and see me in 6 weeks” when you’ve already waited so long.

REPLY
@nrd1

@rocknrobbn

You’re welcome. Something you could try to do in the meantime while you have the 3 month wait;

Ask your PCP if he/she would communicate with the ENT and see what type of maximum medical therapy he would prescribe for you given your history and if were to have seen you in person as a new patient.

Most have a standard direction of treatment that they want patients to try for minimum of 6 weeks for before next step.

Wouldn’t want you to wait a full 3 months to get that appointment, and then be given a regimen of “try this and see me in 6 weeks” when you’ve already waited so long.

Jump to this post

Thank you for the suggestion.

REPLY
@sueinmn

@rocknrobbn Oh my, your story could be mine! An ENT is just the doc to see – they need to see what is going on in your sinuses.
Beyond that,
Ask for the mucus from your sinuses to be cultured, to be sure the medication is being used, and for a long enough time (some bacteria are very hard to kill off.)
Ask about medication to thin the mucus in your sinuses and help it drain. That can get rid of the place for bacteria to grow.
Ask about eustachian tube dysfunction – it can cause all of the symptoms you describe (I had tubes in my ears in my 30's and 40's to relieve the pressure.) Now I find heat and gentle massage can help the pain & pressure.

Have you seen an ENT for these conditions before?
Sue

Jump to this post

My referral just went through and I have to wait 3 months! I will continue mucinex, saline and pseudophed and ibuprofen.

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@rocknrobbn

My referral just went through and I have to wait 3 months! I will continue mucinex, saline and pseudophed and ibuprofen.

Jump to this post

I would be cautious with Pseudafed – for me it causes a "rebound" reaction that increases ear pain. And I only use the original Mucinex – guaifenesin with no other meds added.
Hope the time passes quickly.
Sue

REPLY

Hi, waiting for appointments is so difficult. I agree totally that for me, anyway, this is an inflammatory process that I manage daily. Again, for me, this is diseased mucosal tissue but manageable by self care. It was really helpful to me when I accepted there is no miracle cure. Like others I rely on daily saline rinses (I use sterile water); nasal gel for dry nasal passages (not always necessary); steam inhalation with a few drops of peppermint when very mucousy; ginger and lemon drinks; guaifenesin with no additives if very mucousy (with lots of fluids); I take occasional ibuprofen or paracetamol if I am really miserable and that is not all that often. I find my sinuses are better after exercise, a hike, for example, (probably because it increases blood flow to my poor old mucosa!). When I get a bit stressed, (chronic sinusitis can have a real impact on quality of life, if you let it take over) I do some of the more basic relaxation/meditation available in Youtube etc.
Most of these tips I have learned from posts on Mayoconnect and knowing others have the same problem has helped also. All the best.

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I’m coming up on two years of a sinus infection that started after sinus surgery to get rid of my sinus infections (I’m hoping to go to Mayo in 2023). But just wanted to add that whenever I have exacerbations, I add serrapeptase to my antibiotic/antifungal routine and it seems to make a big difference in the amount of healing I get. It’s an agent that apparently helps to destiny biofilms.

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@sueinmn

I would be cautious with Pseudafed – for me it causes a "rebound" reaction that increases ear pain. And I only use the original Mucinex – guaifenesin with no other meds added.
Hope the time passes quickly.
Sue

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Thank you. I just took a Mucinex, original. And skip pseodofed. And buy some fluconase.
Have a great day.

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